Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Process Frequently Asked Questions

We know members of our community have questions about the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Process. Please see below for some of the more frequently asked questions.


I am applying to Ithaca College and hope to join in Fall 2021. What happens if the major to which I’ve applied is announced for discontinuation in February, after the APP process has taken place? (updated 11/05/20)

Program majors identified for discontinuation via the APP process will stop admitting new students to their programs effective Fall 2022. Therefore, program major changes announced in February 2021 will not affect students participating in the Fall 2021 admission cycle.

Separately, faculty within programs regularly make curricular changes (updating majors and minors, shifting the portfolio of majors and minors they offer, examining capacity issues, etc.), and some of those changes will be effective Fall 2021. If a major program stops accepting new students as a result of our routine process of curricular updating, any student who applied to that program will be made aware of this change and invited to be considered for a different program. If a student has already been admitted to IC, and the major program to which they applied is no longer accepting new students, we will ask how they wish to change their major and will offer alternatives. We will be timely with communication to students about changes to programs they anticipate entering.

It may interest you to know that approximately 25% of students change their majors after they enroll at the College—some (about 7%) even before they arrive for their first day of classes—so we are always happy to support our students who change majors.

If you are a Fall 2021 applicant, we hope you are reassured that the APP process will not affect your entry into the major into which you have been accepted.


When will faculty, students, staff, families, alums, and other members of the Ithaca College community know which majors are being discontinued or re-envisioned?

Final decisions regarding reorganization, consolidation, discontinuance, and growth at the College will be announced by President Collado and Provost Cornish by March 1, 2021, following an iterative, consultative process that observes the guiding principles developed by the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Strategic Plan Action Group in the 2019-2020 academic year.

No decisions have been made yet about which adjustments to make to our program offerings, as the process is presently underway, although faculty members associated with some programs are in the process of making revisions to their curricula already, separate and apart from the APP process.

Please note that the recommendations from the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee (APPIC), and included in the “Shape of the College” document submitted to the President and Provost, may also include suggestions other than program discontinuation and may include recommendations for revisions to internal campus administrative structures, growth in programs, workload adjustments, or guidelines for course enrollments.

What if I’m enrolled in a major program that is slated to be discontinued or for which the curriculum is being revised?

  • When majors are discontinued, will the current students in those programs be able to finish and graduate?  Will they be grandfathered in the program?

If you are enrolled in an Ithaca College major that is scheduled to be substantially revised or discontinued, the process will be exactly as it has always been when we revise or discontinue admission to programs: we ensure that every student enrolled in that major is supported in completing their planned program as scheduled. We have made a commitment to offering you the program you declared as your major consistent with the catalog year in which you were accepted into that major.

At IC, we regularly amend our programs, and as we revise and update programs throughout the year, we ensure that all our current students can complete the program in which they are enrolled.  If the program is revised and not discontinued, students within that program can elect to update their catalog year if they prefer the revised program’s curriculum. We have a solid track record of supporting students through these transitions.

  • If a program is to be discontinued, will I still be fully supported as a student in that program?

Absolutely. The changes we are proposing will occur over time, and all changes are being made with an awareness or our full commitment to students who were attracted to IC by the programs in which they are presently enrolled.

  • Will I need to transfer to another school if my program is revised or discontinued?

No. As described above, we will support the student experience in programs that are being revised or discontinued.

I am worried that the programs and departments to be discontinued will be the "liberal arts" departments in the humanities and social sciences.  There is such value to liberal arts in conjunction with "career" degrees.

We agree with our stakeholders about the essential nature of study in the liberal arts and both its inherent value as well as its value to our professional programs. As we develop recommendations for the future “Shape of the College,” we intend to retain the focus on our identity as a comprehensive institution that supports our mission to “educate, engage, and empower through theory, practice, and performance.” Our commitment to academic excellence, and our history as an institution of higher education, requires that we prepare all students with a robust grounding in the liberal arts. We remain unwavering in our commitment to the liberal arts.

What happens to a student if they have to take an additional semester or year to complete their course work due to challenges associated with the pandemic and/or remote learning?

If a student requires an unexpectedly extended period of time to complete their major, our faculty advisors and administration support that student individually. This has occasionally occurred in the past for students whose graduation was delayed for unexpected reasons during which time the curriculum was amended. We commit to supporting our students and do not retire our offerings from the NYSED inventory until all enrolled students have completed the major.

Undergraduate students at Ithaca College in 2020-2021 will also benefit from the availability of Winter/Summer course credits to enhance their studies. See our Office of Extended Studies page for details on this special offering intended to support student success during the pandemic.

What happens to students who have not yet identified their “forever” major or who are building a unique major of their own via the Integrative Studies program?

  • Will students in the Exploratory Program still have the ability to choose from all the programs that were available, or will we not be able to get into those programs that are closing?

Students in the Exploratory Program will be able to request a change of major for the majors that are available as of the catalog year in which they declare that major. This has always been, and continues to be, our practice. Programs can, and do, put limits on transfers into particular programs (due to capacity issues or curricular revisions, for example), and this should be expected for some high-demand majors, as is typical.

  • What if a student is in the Integrative Studies program and needs courses from different departments? One of those departments has already lost faculty and is no longer offering needed classes for graduation.

Students in Integrative Studies programs create a robust plan of coursework for their self-designed major which is then submitted for review/approval by the Integrative Studies Advisory Board and the Associate Dean in the School of Humanities and Sciences. When departments decide to refresh their offerings and add/delete classes that might have been included in a student’s original, approved plan, Integrative Studies students, working with their advisors, propose adjustments to their plans as needed and submit those revisions for approval via a routine process. This standard practice will be no different this year or next year.